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BJP assures Afghan refugees on citizenship amid anti-CAA stir

New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) As protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) continues, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tried to set a counter narrative when its working chief J.P. Nadda met an Afghan delegation, which, according to it, ‘thanked’ the BJP for the legislation.

As many as 30 Afghan refugees, mostly Sikhs who had fled to India 28 years ago to avoid persecution, met Nadda. The BJP leader assured them that the process of granting citizenship would be expedited, notwithstanding the nationwide anti-CAA protests.

“We we will ensure that there’s enough help desks to assist them with formalities,” he said.

Terming the anti-CAA stir as guided by the “votebank politics”, Nadda said, “I tell the opponents of the Act to visit the camps they (refugees) stay in and see for themselves. I hope wisdom dawns upon them.”

Dewan Singh Sachdeva, one of the refugees living in Delhi for 20 years, told IANS, “We have been living here for years. But we don’t have any documents. We can’t buy lands. I hope, things will change for the better with this Act.”

Amid “Bharat Mata ki Jai” slogans, the refugees presented Nadda a traditional Afghan stole and made him wear it like an Afghani.

The CAA makes it easier for the non-Muslim immigrants from the Muslim-majority states — Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan — to become Indian citizen and cuts the stipulated years one needs to spend in India for applying for citizenship. It will help many, like Sachdeva.

While this would pass as just another delegation meeting BJP leaders, the present political scenario attaches significance to it. By bringing the refugees and their plight to the fore, the BJP has tried to present the ongoing protests as a clash between humanity and purported unconstitutionality.

— IANS

abn/pcj

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